Chronic Conditions 3 MIN READ 76 VIEWS September 18, 2023

10 Common Causes of Jaw Pain You Must Pay Attention To

Written By HealthKart
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

Have you ever woken up with an inexplicable ache in your jaw or felt discomfort while trying to enjoy a meal? Jaw pain can be an incredibly bothersome experience, affecting your ability to speak, eat, and even smile. But what exactly causes this discomfort? Let’s understand this condition in its entirety.

What is Jaw Pain?

Jaw pain refers to any discomfort, ache, or soreness in the jaw area. It can manifest as a sharp, shooting pain, a persistent ache, or even a dull throb. The pain might be localised in one side of the jaw, such as jaw pain left side or it could radiate through the entire jaw and even extend to the neck and face. Understanding the root causes of jaw pain is crucial to finding effective treatment and relief.

Reasons for Jaw Pain

Some of the causes of jaw pain are:

  1. Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders

TMJ disorders stand out as some of the leading causes of jaw pain. Any malfunction or misalignment of this joint can result in discomfort, accompanied by clicking sounds and limited jaw mobility. 

Potential treatments for TMJ disorders include pain management strategies, dedicated physical therapy regimens, and, in the most severe instances, surgical intervention for lasting relief.

  1. Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)

Bruxism, characterised by the habit of grinding or clenching teeth, frequently occurs during sleep or when confronted with stress. The repetitive nature of this motion often gives rise to jaw pain, frequent headaches, and even dental concerns, including worn-down teeth. 

  1. Dental Issues

Dental problems, such as cavities, infections, or impacted wisdom teeth, have the potential to generate localised jaw pain. These issues set the stage for inflammation and irritation within the surrounding tissues, inevitably leading to discomfort. 

Addressing the core dental issues necessitates a range of treatments. including fillings, root canals, extractions, or antibiotics to restore oral health and alleviate the associated jaw pain.

  1. Malocclusion (Bad Bite)

A misaligned bite can exert undue strain on the jaw muscles and joints, culminating in pain and discomfort. When the alignment of the upper and lower teeth deviates from the ideal, it precipitates uneven pressure on the jaw. 

The corrective path often involves orthodontic interventions, such as braces or aligners, to rectify the bite anomaly and mitigate the discomfort stemming from malocclusion.

  1. Sinus Infections

Sinus infections can trigger referred pain in the jaw region, frequently mistaken for dental concerns. The proximity of the sinuses and the jaw enables inflammation from a sinus infection to elicit discomfort in the jaw.

  1. Gum Disease

Advanced gum disease, periodontitis, causes jaw pain from inflammation and infection in gum tissues. Infection can affect tooth support, including the jawbone. Treatments include dental cleanings, scaling, and surgery for severe cases to manage the disease and alleviate jaw discomfort.

  1. Nerve Conditions

Nerve conditions like trigeminal neuralgia cause intense jaw pain due to irritation of the trigeminal nerve, which branches into the face and jaw. Managing these requires comprehensive approaches, including medication, targeted nerve blocks, and, if needed, surgery to address the root issue.

  1. Stress and Tension

Emotional stress and tension can physically manifest as jaw pain. Individuals frequently unconsciously clench their jaws during periods of heightened stress, invariably leading to muscle tension and subsequent discomfort. This phenomenon is often termed myofascial pain syndrome. 

Employing stress management techniques, engaging in relaxation exercises, and embracing mindfulness practices collectively contribute to mitigating stress-related muscle tension and its associated jaw pain.

  1. Arthritis

Arthritis, particularly variants like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, can exert an impact on the jaw joint, resulting in pain and restricted mobility. Inflammatory processes inherent to arthritis can lead to cartilage erosion within the joint, triggering discomfort. 

Remedies for arthritis-associated jaw pain encompass anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy to enhance joint function, and adaptations to one’s lifestyle to effectively manage the discomfort and enhance overall quality of life.

  1. Injury or Trauma

Unforeseen accidents or blows to the jaw can yield immediate or delayed-onset jaw pain. The magnitude of the injury dictates the course of treatment, which may encompass pain management strategies, adequate rest, and, in severe instances, surgical interventions.

Timely seeking professional medical attention following such an injury is imperative to ensure proper healing and avert prolonged discomfort.


If you’re experiencing persistent jaw pain or discomfort, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional or a dentist to receive a proper diagnosis and personalised treatment plan. Don’t let jaw pain hinder your daily life – take the necessary steps to decode and address the factors causing your discomfort. Understanding jaw pain reasons will help you seek appropriate solutions and treatments. 

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